“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with” – Jim Rohn
This interesting, and much quoted saying from Jim Rohn is something many of us have observed. Spend enough time with someone and you start to say things like them, do things like them, and be like them. It certainly makes you take 5 minutes to think about who you are spending your time with – both giving and receiving influence.
Have you ever wondered why when you look at a couple who have been married many years, even things like their facial expressions are often similar? It is because they have spent so much time together, that they just naturally do many of the same things, say the same things. They almost know what the other person is thinking, or about to do. I’ve been married close to 15 years, and my wife and I can often predict what the other will do or say in many situations, just because we have such a close relationship and that we have spent so many years together already.
You could say then, that we share in each others nature. Each of us introduced things to the other (for example, my wife brought her music, and I brought Lord of the Rings), and those things are now part of both of our lives, shared between us in many cases like there was no time when we didn’t know them.
2 Peter 1:4 (HCSB)
By these He has given us very great and precious promises, so that through them you may share in the divine nature, escaping the corruption that is in the world because of evil desires.
And so it is with God.
I spent a bunch of time reading this verse, trying to work out what it really meant. Maybe I’m just slow (this can’t be ruled out). The first part is easy – we have been given a great many promises. Promises direct from Jesus, promises in the Old Testament, and others in the New. And the last part seems easy – that through these promises we escape the corruption of the world. But what is it to ‘share in the divine nature’?
Just like our relationships here in this life, we can also share with God. Not become ‘God’, or become ‘gods’, but to share in God’s nature. We spend time with Him, with His word, in worship and prayer, and we start to take on some of the nature of God. More specifically, we start to escape from the desires which haunt and chase us. We start to escape the corruption of the world, and live a holy life.
And even more. We start to see the world through God’s eyes. I’ll share a little thing about me – growing up, I never had a lot of compassion for others – I was a pretty selfish only child. Even as I left home and got a job, even as a Christian, I didn’t really spare a thought for many of the other 7 Billion people out there alive on this earth right now. But over time, God has changed me. If I had stayed in the world, like many I am sure I would still be utterly selfish (I’m not saying everyone in the world has this particular problem – but certainly there are lots that do). But over time, I have come to see that people need Jesus. I have also come to see that people need compassion and understanding. And some people just need a meal to get through the day. And so, over time, I have come to share just a little more in the ‘divine nature’. I’m not God, but I am starting to be more like Jesus every day.
So know this. You have been given many great and precious promises, that will help you to escape the world and its desires. And if you will spend the time with Him, you will also start to be more like Jesus, seeing the world through His eyes, and being His hands in the world today.